Perhaps the best-known scenic attraction is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is located astride the North Carolina-Tennessee border. The park’s mountainous terrain and primitive wilderness afford ideal conditions for hiking, fishing, and camping. Western North Carolina’s spectacular mountain panoramas and quiet beauty are accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic highway running from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains. Along the route are beautiful displays of rhododendrons, mountain laurels, and rugged terrain, including Mount Mitchell (2,037 m/6,684 ft), the highest peak in the eastern United States.
A major attraction of the coastal region is the Outer Banks, much of which has been set aside as the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout national seashores. The area offers extensive opportunities for seaside recreation. Deep-sea fishing off the Outer Banks is excellent. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, near the cape, is the tallest lighthouse in North America at 63 m (208 ft). The national seashore also contains one of the state’s three national wildlife refuges—Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Also located at Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks is the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the place where the first motor-powered flight was made in 1903.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island commemorates the place where the English first attempted to establish a colony in America. Moores Creek National Battlefield and Guilford Courthouse National Military Park are sites of important battles of the American Revolution (1775-1783). The home of the poet Carl Sandburg, Connemara, at Flat Rock, is a national historic site.
Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan national forests cover 486,000 hectares (1.2 million acres). Pisgah National Forest lies in the mountains, as does Nantahala National Forest. Because the sun penetrates to the bottom of Nantahala Gorge only in the middle of the day, the Cherokee called it the “Land of the Noon Day Sun,” or “Nantahala.” About 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) of virgin wilderness forest in the Nantahala National Forest has been set aside as the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, to memorialize the poet who wrote the poem “Trees.” The Uwharrie National Forest, in the central Piedmont region of the state, is a fairly rugged area of ancient volcanic mountains that have resisted erosion and weathering better than the surrounding countryside. The forest received its name from German settlers, for whom uwharrie meant “new home.” On the coast is the Croatan National Forest, which derived its name from the name of a main town of the Algonquin people that occupied the region when the English arrived in the 1580s. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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